Located in Southern California, Riverside County extends from Orange and Los Angeles Counties to the California/Arizona State line. The county is coping with the impact of the region's economic recession: unemployment rates, poverty levels, and housing foreclosures have increased in the past few years. The county's population, however, has grown steadily.
The Consolidated Plan for Riverside County uses a budget of $15.7 million. Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds make up $12.7 million of that amount, HOME Investment Partnership Grant (HOME) Funds comprise $2.7 million, and Emergency Shelter Grant (ESG) funds contribute $327,000.
The Riverside County Economic Development Agency (EDA) developed the Consolidated Plan in collaboration with public and private housing and supportive services providers, the public housing agency, representatives of local government, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors, activity sponsors, individual citizens, and Community Development Area
Committees (CDACs). CDACs are the primary means of communication between the
county and its citizens. Input from nonprofit agencies and service providers was
obtained through surveys, and the county hosted 7 public meetings, during which
67 individuals and 26 nonprofit agencies contributed. EDA representatives ensured maximum citizen participation by scheduling citizen participation meetings in the county's 16 unincorporated communities.
Meetings were announced through newspaper, radio, and television advertisements, and
flyers were distributed at local libraries, public facilities, schools, and community
organizations. As part of each meeting, EDA representatives conducted a formal
needs assessment and results were submitted to the appropriate County Supervisor. Additionally, the Board
of Supervisors held one formal public hearing.
Riverside County's Consolidated Plan serves 16 cities: Banning, Beaumont, Blythe, Cathedral City, Calimesa, Coachella, Desert Hot Springs, Indio, Lake Elsinore, La Quinta, Murrieta, Norco, Palm Desert, Perris, San Jacinto, and Temecula. The cities of Riverside, Moreno Valley, Corona, Hemet, and Palm Springs have their own entitlement jurisdiction, and the cities of Canyon Lake, Indian Wells, and Rancho Mirage are not participating in the plan.
Riverside County's population is 1.2 million, with 123,671 people living at or below the poverty level. According to a 1990 census, female head of households, who comprise 56,671 of all households in the county, had lower homeownership rates, paid a higher percentage of income for housing, and had lower incomes than did other groups.
In 1990 Riverside County's median family income (MFI) was $36,000. While more than half of all residents had fairly high incomes (at or above 95 percent of the MFI), including 43 percent of all owner households, only 10 percent of all renter households fit this category.
For all other income categories, the ratio of owners to renters was largely
the same. Eleven percent of all households were categorized as extremely
low-income (0-30 percent of MFI) or very low-income (31-50 percent of MFI). Only 8 percent of all households
were moderate-income (81-95 percent of MFI), but 17 percent were low-income
(51-80 percent of MFI).
Despite a recession that has impacted cities throughout Riverside County since 1990, the region has experienced an annual 3 percent increase in population. This growth is attributed to increased numbers of migrants from other counties in Southern California, immigration from foreign countries, and a high birth rate.
The recession did, however, negatively affect business and industry in the region. The U.S. Bureau of Labor reported in 1992 that Riverside County's unemployment level was 13 percent.
The 1990 census found that of the 81,627 housing units built in the county prior to 1960, 3,407 lacked complete kitchens and 2,360 lacked adequate plumbing. There are an estimated 40,207 substandard housing units that need repair or replacement. In addition, foreclosure rates in the county have increased significantly since 1992. In fact, foreclosure figures reported in December 1994 were 22 percent higher than those reported a year earlier.
The number of households in Riverside County has increased in recent years, as has the average household size (from 2.68 persons per unit in 1980 to 2.85 in 1990). Almost two-thirds of all large, related households were overcrowded, including 75 percent of very low-income or extremely low-income households. Overcrowding was more prevalent in rental units: only 8 percent of owner-occupied households had too many people, while 25 percent of renter households were overcrowded.
The 1990 census counted 483,847 housing units in Riverside County. Of these, 30 percent were rentals and 70 percent were owner-occupied. An 11 percent vacancy rate was recorded for rentals, along with a 5 percent rate for owner-occupied units.
Tremendous growth in the area since the mid-1970s has led to rising land costs, escalating construction costs, and costs related to financing, infrastructure, and permit fees, and has contributed to higher home prices. Between 1970 and 1988, average home prices in the Southern California region increased 580 percent while MFI rose only 234 percent. In 1990 the median price for a home was $139,100 and median rent was $523. The great demand placed on housing in Riverside County, especially in its western portion, has strained the local housing market as members of all income categories have been forced to find other market alternatives.
On the basis of a Department of Community Action Needs Assessment and data provided by a 1991 State of California report, Riverside County estimated that more than 150,000 persons, or 39 percent of the total county population, live at or below the poverty line. Very low-income persons earning less than $18,000 per year and low-income persons with incomes between $18,000-$28,800 were scattered throughout the county, with the largest concentration in the lower Coachella Valley.
Within the county's low-income population, all minority groups experienced higher percentages of cost burden as compared to total households. Among renter households, 72 percent of Hispanic households and 60 percent of low-income African Americans experienced cost burden. For owner households, these percentages were 40 and 55 percent, respectively.
Approximately 79 percent of low-income households pay more than 30 percent of their income on housing. Severe cost burden (spending more than 50 percent of income on housing costs) affects two-thirds of extremely low-income households. More renter households face cost burden than do owner households.
In 1993 homeless individuals accounted for almost 2 percent of Riverside County's population. Between July 1, 1992 and June 30, 1993, 20,591 persons (including 6,958 families) were identified as homeless. A more recent study, the 1995 Riverside County Local Emergency Shelter Strategy, found that 50 percent of the homeless population survey was white and that one in four was Hispanic. Women and veterans accounted for the largest groups within the population at 15 percent and 17 percent, respectively. Only 2.5 percent were children. One-fourth of the population had been victimized by domestic violence. Persons with severe mental illness, substance abuse, or a combination of both accounted for 20 percent of the population. Persons with HIV/AIDS accounted for 10 percent.
The 1995 study also found a tremendous shortage of homeless shelters in Riverside County. Only 5 shelters were operating in the county, providing clients a total of 422 beds. Because of the lack of housing assistance throughout the region, National Guard Armories have been used as short-term shelters. Riverside County, through the Department of Community Action, has contracted with local community-based organizations to provide emergency, short-term assistance. Additionally, each year from November 1 to March 31, the Emergency Cold Weather Shelter Program (ECWSP) operates the county's only emergency shelters, which have available approximately 400 beds in 5 communities. The Inland AIDS Project operates the county's only AIDS shelter, which provides only 10 beds for both longand short-term care.
A regional planning conference held in 1994 resulted in the following analysis of the continuum of care in Riverside County:
The Riverside County Housing Authority operates 8,160 affordable housing units, of which 4,121 are located in cities not participating in the Consolidated Plan. Section 8 certificates and vouchers account for 5,582 units.
For some programs, such as the Section 8 Rental Assistance Program, the wait for housing was between 3 and 5 years. The housing agency reported 12,881 families on the waiting list, which has been closed since June 30, 1992. According to a 1993 California Housing Partnership Corporation report, 2,560 housing units in Riverside County may be lost to conversion by 2008.
The Consolidated Plan for Riverside County identified the following barriers to affordable housing:
Riverside County contracts with the Fair Housing Council of Riverside County, Inc. to provide fair housing services for unincorporated areas of the county as well as 16 CDBG-cooperating cities. A 1994 Fair Housing Impediments Study resulted in the following local initiatives:
In 1990 as many as 160,595 housing units in Riverside County, the majority of which were owner-occupied, were potential lead-based paint hazards.
Title X of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1992 required that Riverside County submit a Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Plan emphasizing the prevention of childhood lead poisoning through housing-based approaches. The county established a Lead-Based Paint Task Force that included representatives from the county Departments of Environmental Health, Health-Children's Medical Services, and Building and Safety, as well as from the housing agency and the Economic Development Agency. By researching building permits, the task force identified county housing stock built prior to 1978. Owners received informational letters including questionnaires advising them of the potential hazard. Those owners with incomes below the county medium will be permitted to contact an outside agency or apply to the County Home Improvement Program for financial assistance for inspection and abatement services.
Coachella Valley's agricultural-based economy depends on migrant labor 9 months of the year. A 1995 survey conducted by Coachella Valley farmers found 15,619 migrant farmworkers working in the area in May and June, 8,800 in February and March, 4,400 in December through February, and decreasing numbers in the remaining months. The tremendous variations in numbers of farmworkers as well as their unstable living situations has had considerable impact on housing and community development throughout Riverside County. Deplorable living conditions, inadequate health and support services, and overcrowding were among the most pressing issues identified by the county.
The county's elderly population increased 51 percent between 1980 and 1990. Affordable housing for seniors, however, did not keep up with increased demand. As a result, there is a shortage of subsidized rental housing for the elderly and a growing need for home repairs and other supportive services to help seniors age at home.
Ability Counts, Inc., an organization serving the developmentally disabled community, has identified a need in the county for supportive housing. In many cases people are living alone, but are not able to live or manage their affairs independently. At the same time, board and care homes are full and have long waiting lists. The same housing needs exist for persons with mental illnesses.
In addition to the 20 percent of the county homeless population that has HIV/AIDS, 2,500 people with HIV are estimated by the Desert AIDS project to be living in the Coachella Valley. National studies have shown that at least 25 percent of people with disabling AIDS will be in need of supportive housing at some time during their illness. Failure to provide suitable and flexible housing options for people with HIV and AIDS may create another vulnerable homeless population.
Riverside County has created a needs assessment to project community development needs expected over the next 5 years. Local citizens, nonprofit services providers, and relevant county agencies helped compile the assessment. The following county agencies were involved: Community Action, Housing, Parks Department, Transformation Land Management Agency, Health Services, Mental Health Services, Office of Aging, Department of Public Social Services, Office of Education, Fire Department, Flood Control, and the Sheriff's Office.
Priority needs identified by the project include public services, public facilities, removal of architectural barriers, code enforcement, and economic development. Activities conducted in these areas will affect low-, very low-, and extremely low-income county residents.
The Riverside County Economic Development Agency (EDA) was the lead agency
in formulating the Consolidated Plan.
The Consolidated Plan identified the following 5-year housing priorities in Riverside County:
The Consolidated Plan identified the following community development priorities in Riverside County:
Antipoverty Strategy Coordinated efforts between the Riverside County Housing Authority and the Riverside County Department of Public Social Services to improve conditions for poor residents include:
In addition to Federal and State agencies, Riverside County works in collaboration with for-profit organizations such as the Savings Associations Mortgage Company (SAMCO), the Riverside Real Estate Council, and the Building Industry Association. EDA is exploring the establishment of a consortium of savings and loans professionals to meet local Community Reinvestment Act regulations. EDA also will work with private developers to create incentives for constructing low-income housing.
Nonprofit organizations in the county offering services or housing include the Family Service Association, Alternatives for Domestic Violence, Banning Partners for a Revitalized Community, Catholic Charities, Coachella Valley Housing Coalition, Fair Housing Council of Riverside County, Inc., Habitat for Humanity, Lutheran Social Services, and Shared Housing. EDA also hopes to establish a nonprofit housing development corporation to increase the supply of affordable housing for poor families in areas other than Coachella Valley, where the Housing Coalition is active.
As the lead Consolidation Plan agency, EDA is responsible for administering all U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community, Planning, and Development (CPD) formula grant programs for Riverside County. CPD program administration is divided into four county regions: Northwest, Southwest, Mid-County and Eastern. The community and economic development staff assigned to each region coordinate delivery of services with the local Federal Emergency Management Agency board and for-profit and nonprofit organizations. Monitoring visits are conducted annually by EDA staff.
Other agencies assisting in implementing the plan are:
The Consolidated Plan of Riverside County allocates funding in Fiscal Year 1995 to more than 190 projects. Among the key projects identified are:
MAP 2 depicts points of interest and low-moderate income areas.
MAP 3 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and minority concentration levels.
MAP 4 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and unemployment levels.
MAP 5 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects.
MAP 6 is a map, sectioned by neighborhood, which depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects.
MAP 7 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects within one of the four neighborhoods indicated in MAP 6.
MAP 8 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects within another of the four neighborhoods indicated in MAP 6.
MAP 9 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded project(s) from a street level vantage point; in addition, a table provides information about the project(s).
Economic Development Agency
County of Riverside
1151 Spruce Street
Riverside, California 92507